(photographer unknown - used without permission)
In 1978, and the years to follow, I listened to, watched, admired, developed crushes on, and came to adore Robin Lane. With her band, Robin Lane and The Chartbusters, she owned a substantial slice of the Boston music scene, which was exploding at the time.
I attended live shows every week: Robin Lane, Human Sexual Response, Mission of Burma, Lou Miami, Pastiche, The Girls, The Outlets, Phobia, The Stompers, Unnatural Axe, The Lyres, Lizzie Borden, La Peste, Classic Ruins, Thrills, Del Fuegos and more -- so many more. I got to know musicians and singers, bartenders and bouncers, record producers and band managers. I landed in videos and films, radio stations and recording studios. I produced plays and wrote comedy. I took too many drugs, drank too much, had sex with too many people, and absolutely adored my life. It may have been the end of the 1970s, but it was still the 1970s we all loved and were lucky to live through.
The Rat, Cantones, Sp(a)ce, Inn Square Men's Bar, Streets, Storyville, and other haunts became my homes away from home.
Some weeks I sought out a particular band, some weeks I was chasing a particular romance, some weeks I was looking for particular drugs, but every week included some time in one of these venues.
I never had any trouble meeting and picking up girls or boys, and was known to be very direct with anyone I wanted to be with. On more than one occasion I asked the wrong boy to dance, and would find myself in a potentially violent and dangerous situation. Fortunately, the majority of the people on the scene were not as offended as the guy who considered himself my 'victim' and I could talk my way out of death with the help of friends or casual acquaintances.
I jumped at any opportunity to see Robin Lane and The Chartbusters. Robin Lane was adorable, and sexy, and looked so tough and seemed so vulnerable. She was everything a rock 'n roll chick should be in my young, naive mind. I had the hots for her, as I said in those days.
Whenever I had the opportunity to say hello or chat with her she was charming and friendly. I would get tongue-tied, stammer and mumble, and eventually make an excuse to withdraw. No matter how cool, hip and sophisticated I thought I was, she was cooler, hipper and more sophisticated.
In the ensuing decades, I learned about self-centered fear, and the way events of my youth shaped my ability or inability to form healthy relationships with other people.
A few years ago, I saw Robin Lane listed as a 'friend' of a 'friend' on Facebook. Facebook is that place where the word 'friend' means something very different than than definition I remember from Catholic school.
I checked-out her page and read about her work with women and girls and music. She was clearly a survivor like me and so many others of our generation who made it out alive. She was using her valuable life experience to be of service to others. I was now more impressed thirty-odd years later than I had been in my youth.
Eventually I became her 'friend' (in the Facebook sense of the word) and followed her goings-on from a distance. I read a post she made one day and it resonated so deeply with me that I sent her a message, and we had a brief correspondence about some issues of importance to both of us.
Some weeks/months/years later, I saw a poster online announcing her performance in the Boston area on the same bill as my cousin, Andrea Gillis. We shared some messages about that and I was excited to hear that she admired Andrea.
Sometime in 2012 (I think), I saw an announcement that Chartbuster's drummer Tim Jackson established a kickstarter project to fund a movie about Robin. I was thrilled and I followed the progress as announcements were made.
Finally, earlier this year, the premiere screening of the movie was announced for Friday, April 4, 2014, at the Arlington Regent Theatre, near Boston. Next Friday.
I got two tickets immediately and started making plans.
I will be there.
Get info here: When Things Go Wrong, Robin Lane's Story
Get tickets here: Regent Theatre
Look for me: I'll be the really good-looking guy who used to be much younger!
And I'll look for you: I remember who you are.